BURLINGTON — Energy-efficiency programs designed and implemented by Vermont Energy Investment Corp. have been called among the most innovative and effective in the nation.
VEIC programs in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors are setting a standard that should be emulated in other states, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The report, entitled “Frontiers of Energy Efficiency: Next Generation Programs Reach for High Energy Savings,” estimates that these leading-edge programs, pioneered by VEIC and others, could yield a 27 percent reduction in electricity demand and a 19 percent reduction in natural gas demand if they were deployed across the country.
VEIC has operated Efficiency Vermont, the nation’s first statewide energy-efficiency utility, for more than a decade.
It also operates Efficiency Smart, which provides energy efficiency services to a network of 49 communities in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
VEIC programs that garnered recognition in the ACEEE report include:
Efficiency Vermont’s partnership with the Vermont Foodbank to distribute energy-saving light bulbs over the last several years, including more than 160,000 bulbs in 2011 alone; and Vermont’s Multifamily Housing Initiative, which has helped improve more than 5,000 housing units across the state since 2000.
The full report can be accessed at www.aceee.org.
Vt. gourmet dog
MONTPELIER — A new home business that launched in December features wheat-free, preservative-free and handmade gourmet dog biscuits.
Bongo and Blanket’s Bakehouse is the brainchild of Tyce Light, who runs the business out of his home on Isabel Circle, a cul-de-sac off Berlin Street.
Wheat and wheat by-products in many pet foods today are reported to trigger food allergies in pets. Bongo & Blanket’s biscuits are handmade from human-grade, nutrient-dense ingredients, and are free of corn, wheat, soy, added refined sugar or salt.
The business says it never uses by-products, fillers, preservatives or additives, but it does include herbs and spices that are said to have medicinal benefits.
Orders can be placed by phone, mail and online. For information, call 498-3685, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or log onto www.bongoandblanketsbakehouse.com.
BURLINGTON — Champlain College’s online degree program is among the top-ranked programs in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.
U.S. News released its “2013 Best Online Education Report,” ranking online degree and distance learning programs, and for the first time ranked them numerically.
There will be no print component to the Best Online Education rankings. However, U.S. News plans to include highlights in both the “Best Graduate Schools 2014” and “Best Colleges 2014” printed guidebooks.
Champlain’s online bachelor’s degree program is ranked 54th out of 237 participating schools, putting it in the top one-quarter of all the regionally accredited for-profit, private and public institutions that grant bachelor’s degrees through online degree programs.
The list is at www.usnews.com/online-education.
Online degree programs in business, IT and health care have been under way at Champlain College since the 1990s.
About 800 people are enrolled online at Champlain College.
credit rating rises
MONTPELIER — A. M. Best Co. has upgraded the issuer credit rating to from “A” to “A+” and affirmed the financial strength rating of Excellent for Vermont Mutual Insurance Company and its two subsidiaries, Northern Security Insurance Company and Granite Mutual Insurance Company.
The outlook for all ratings is stable.
The issuer credit rating upgrade reflects Vermont Mutual’s favorable underwriting and operating results, which have consistently outperformed in the industry composite in recent years.
In addition, Vermont Mutual continues to maintain solid risk-adjusted capitalization, an established market presence in New England and knowledge of local insurance issues.
NORTHFIELD — Four of Norwich University’s online programs were each ranked “one of the best,” according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 rankings of online programs.
The online bachelor’s of science in strategic studies and defense analysis cracked the top 15 percent of the rankings, listed 26th out of 213 schools.
The school’s online MBA (46th out of 197 schools) and nursing master’s (29th out of 96 schools) programs also had strong showings, along with the online civil engineering master’s program, which ranked 24th out of 66 schools.
Workshop set for
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Procurement Technical Center will offer a free workshop for women-owned small businesses from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 23 at the Springfield Holiday Inn Express.
The workshop will focus on the requirements of government contracting and how women-owned small businesses can become qualified vendors and compete for government contracts. Register for this free workshop online at vtptac.ecenterdirect.com, email email@example.com or call (802) 885-3061.
at DuBois & King
RANDOLPH — Matthew Mears of Milton has joined DuBois & King Inc., a consulting engineering firm in Randolph.
A University of Vermont graduate, Mears holds his professional engineer license in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. He will work in the firm’s Williston office.
Hunter is named
VPT grants chief
COLCHESTER — Maggie Hunter of Essex Junction has been named grants and foundation support director at Vermont Public Television.
She is responsible for seeking and administering funds from foundations and government agencies to support VPT’s local productions and community activities.
Hunter joined VPT in 2006 as a major events and corporate support assistant. Since then, she has also been an adjunct faculty member at Champlain College, teaching art history and religion.
She has been an art buyer for McGraw-Hill publishing, a fashion designer and illustrator, and a graphic designer.
to Gifford Gallery
RANDOLPH — The Gifford Medical Center art gallery will host an exhibit of local photographs from Randolph resident and historian Harriet Chase from Jan. 30 to March 27.
Chase is calling the show “photo-art” after learning to apply graphics to her photographs.
“I first learned computer graphics and was pleased with the simple effects that a few enhancements I could give to a really nice photograph,” Chase said. “None of these enhancements ever overpower the image itself, but subtle actions that perhaps highlight an area, a frame consistent with the picture or a computer ‘matting’ make a good photograph all the nicer.”
Chase said her interest in getting creative with photos took off when digital photography became common.
She describes her work as “crisp and clean — the way we see an object, though sometimes the camera lens ‘points out’ things we never notice with the naked eye.”
This is her first show at Gifford Gallery, located just inside the hospital’s main entrance at 44 South Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. To learn more about this show or displaying works in the gallery, call Julie Fischer at (802) 728-2324.
TD Bank promotes
MONTPELIER — Marino J. Bartolomei was promoted to small business relationship manager at TD Bank’s Montpelier branch.
An assistant vice president, he is responsible for providing a range of lending services to the small business community throughout central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom. Bartolomei has 20 years of experience in banking, financial services and management. He joined TD Bank in 2011 as a store manager in Waterbury. Prior to joining TD Bank, Bartolomei served as president of Northeastern Mortgage, a private mortgage brokerage firm he founded in Waterbury.
elects new officers
BERLIN — The Central Vermont Medical Center Auxiliary announced a new slate of officers for 2013:
Treasurer Sarah Miller of Montpelier, Vice President-Elect Wanda Baril of Berlin, President Carol Welch of East Montpelier and Secretary Robin Brandis of Elmore. Heidi Pelletier of Montpelier is the immediate past president.
MVP raises $21K
for Sandy recovery
MVP Health Care and its employees donated more than $21,000 to the American Red Cross to help families recover from the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.
MVP partnered with the American Red Cross in November in an online donation program for MVP co-workers and pledged to match employee donations up to $10,000. In the first two weeks, MVP employees donated $6,781.
Employees’ donations continued to arrive in December, totaling $11,531.
With MVP’s match, the grand total donated to the American Red Cross was $21,531.
STOWE — Howard Levine, principle of the financial advisory firm Hanover Financial Group, has completed a specialized education to become a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
As a member of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts and a CDFA recipient, Levine is qualified to act as an advisor on issues such as asset liquidation, possible tax consequences upon liquidation, reallocation or change of ownership, and the mechanics of transferring assets between spouses.
Levine also works as a mediator for divorcing parties and is able to help clients and attorneys avoid the common financial pitfalls of divorce by offering insight into the pros and cons of different settlements.
— Staff Reports